Live review: Märvel

Big rock riffs and Swedish pop sensibilities collide.

(Image: © Leigh Van Der Byl)

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Looking at the guys on stage, it’s like looking at a line-up of Batman’s alternative career choices: an airline pilot, a WWI flying ace and a Jack The Ripper impersonator rattle out visceral rock’n’roll akin to a Josh Homme collaboration with AC/DC, wearing Dark Knight gimp masks and calling themselves, respectively, The King, Speedo and new guy The Charlatan.

For a band boasting 40-degree fevers, awake since 2am and “almost passing out”, Swedish band Märvel (what, no lawsuit?) are a superhuman display of riff and wit as they storm through Baptism, The Hills Have Eyes (“I smell a Grammy”) and, “hold on to your nipples”, Danish Rush like biker gang hog races.

The set is heavy on songs from 2014’s Hadel Zone Express, their fourth album, and they occasionally allow their Swedish pop DNA to seep through the cracks of Remember and Five Smell City, but when they veer off into older territory the scenery gets more soiled. Since That Day could be the Stones doing Muse’s Plug In Baby, Come In Out Of The Rain has The Hives roughing up Thin Lizzy and they spew Turbonegro oil smoke like a cranky rock’n’roll carburettor. “This is what you dream of when you’re standing in the chicken factory,” says The King, ahead of an infectious final Goddess On The Loose, having headbanged so hard he broke his gimp zip. The avengers, reassembled.

Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont is a music journalist with almost three decades' experience writing for publications including Classic Rock, NME, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Uncut and Melody Maker. He has written major biographies on Muse, Jay-Z, The Killers, Kanye West and Bon Iver and his debut novel [6666666666] is available on Kindle.